Boulder has released its 2018 phono preamplifier. Its first public showing will be at the upcoming AXPONA 2019.

Part of the US manufacturer’s 2100 Series of components, the Boulder 2108 is a second-generation phono preamp, based on Boulder’s award-winning 2008 phono stage. According to Rich Maez, of Boulder, the new model has better ground paths and planes, revised circuit topology, and a lower non-signal noise floor. ‘Increased use of surface-mount PCB technology, manufactured on Boulder’s own SMD manufacturing machines and ovens has also yielded improvements in noise radiation, propagation delay, parasitic capacitance and the elimination of lead inductance in selected circuits,’ he told Australian Hi-Fi Magazine.
The new 2018 has multiple four different user-selectable equalisation curves fitted. In addition to standard RIAA de-emphasis owners can alternatively use FFRR, Columbia, and EMI de-emphasis curves. All are selectable from the front panel. As with many phono preamps, Boulder is reducing noise by using two separate chassis design, one for the high-voltage electronics and the other for the low-voltage electronics.
The moving-coil input of the 2018 has 10dB more gain than the older 2008, which Maez says improves its signal-to-noise ratio, enabling substantially improved low-level resolution and dynamics. A pair of RCA connections on the rear panel enables the use of an external cartridge demagnetiser for those MC cartridges that are compatible with this feature. To enable the use of multiple phono cartridges, the 2018 has three phono inputs, each fitted with its own customisable circuit board (Boulder calls them ‘Personality Cards’) which can be tailored to provide the correct resistive and capacitive loads for any phono cartridge.
Other features on the Boulder 2018 include a switchable and selectable low-cut filter with 3dB down-points of 10 Hz or 20 Hz, and a mono mode to enable monaural recordings to be played using a stereo cartridge. Available now, from Boulder’s Australian distributor, Absolute Hi End, the Boulder 2018 Phono Preamplifier retails for $81,800
Manufacturer’s Specifications: Boulder 2018 Phono Preamplifier
Input Impedance (MC): 1kΩ (max, adjustable)
Input Impedance (MM): 47kΩ (max, adjustable)
Output Impedance: 100Ω
Maximum Output Voltage: 28VRMS
THD @ 1kHz: 0.005%
Gain (MC): 70 or 60 dB (Switchable)
Gain (MM): 50 or 40dB (Switchable)
Noise (EIN) A-Weighted: 160μV (MC)
Frequency Response: 20Hz to 20kHz ±0.10dB
Crosstalk: >100dB
Power Consumption: 75W
Dimensions (WHD): 457×390×146mm (Phono Stage)
Dimensions (WHD): 457×390×146mm (Power Supply)
Price: $81,800 (RRP)
For more information, contact Absolute Hi End